Licensed Midwife, Homebirth Midwifery and Holistic Women's Health

Posts tagged tongue-tie

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 A Class II maxillary frenum attachment, or lip tie.

A Class II maxillary frenum attachment, or lip tie.

A new mother is five days postpartum.  Her milk has come in,  but the baby just cannot seem to latch well.  She wants to nurse but is fussy at the breast.  She is hungry because she hasn’t had a really good feeds yet.  Mom is exhausted and frustrated.  After a few more days, everyone is overwhelmed and no one knows how to help the nursing go any better.  Mom takes baby in to the pediatrician/midwife/nurse-practitioner…

The trouble is, most care providers are only familiar with the classic tongue-tie.  Lip-ties and posterior tongue-ties are similar structural obstacles to nursing that are typically overlooked by most of us midwives, pediatricians, even lactation consultants because we simply aren’t aware of them;  We were never taught to look for them.

Unlike my son who nursed voraciously (and hourly), my daughter had a loose and lazy latch, and only nursed for short spurts as a newborn.  I checked under her tongue to see if she was tongue-tied, and she wasn’t.  She did eventually learn to latch well enough to get enough milk to feel satisfied and gain weight — albeit slowly.  Looking back on those first six months, I was so sleep deprived and busy trying to stay connected to my three year-old that it hadn’t occurred to me that she might have some other structural or oral-motor problem contributing to her poor latch.